Verizon Team Penske’s Will Power in the No.12 Chevrolet will start Sunday’s Kohler Grand Prix from pole position after setting a Verizon P1 Award time of 01:42.2105s and will have reigning series champion Scott Dixon in the No.9 Clorex Chevrolet beside him on the front row.
Speaking following the session Power stated:
It was a session of all traffic. Every single run I had was traffic. Took a risk in the second round and got through on used tires and that gave us the best shot at the pole because (Scott) Dixon has been very quick. I am really excited to get pole, I really am. Been kind of a rough start of the year for us, but we are firing on all cylinders now. A lot of guys used new tires on every run, and we were the only one on used. I really had to lay it out. We are going to do everything we can to win this damn race. That is what we have to do.
Dixon commented on his run in qualifying by saying:
I think there were just too many mistakes made to get the pole. We definitely had the car for the pole. I messed up the last two corners in the Clorox car, which in turn costs us 2-and-a-1/2 tenths and ultimately the pole position today here at Road America. There is massive fan support here, it’s great to be back and I hope we put on a good show for the fans tomorrow.
Dixon’s team mate Tony Kanaan in the No.10 NTT DATA Chevrolet will start the race from third place and has been up at the front all weekend so has put himself in a great position to challenge for victory after setting a fastest time of 01:42.7279s and speaking following the session the Brazilian stated:
We’ve done really well here all weekend until the Firestone Fast 6. We left the pits after sitting with the rest of the field and waiting to go out and almost immediately my steering wheel just completely froze. We were trying to figure out what we needed to do, but because we didn’t go out right away we were really running out of time. That’s the price you pay when you run those strategies and then run into issues like those. We finally got it figured out when I was in Turn 12 on my out lap, but at that point I could only get in one more lap. Thankfully we were able to get the No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet up to third. Obviously we’d like to be on the pole, but with only having one full lap out and that electrical issue I’m happy with where we were able to qualify.
Simon Pagenaud who goes into Sunday’s race with an eighty point lead in the series points standings starts the Kohler Grand Prix from 4th place just ahead of Helio Castroneves in the No.3 Hitachi Chevrolet and speaking following the Firestone Fast 6 competition the Frenchman stated:
The Menard’s car is actually very good around the track. It was awesome. I thought this track was beautiful. It’s great to be back here. The fans are really amazing, and I’m just very excited, I think, for IndyCar. This is a great opportunity. The campers — we’re sitting here in the bus, and it’s amazing to see the traffic at night. It’s a good sign. The run was good. We didn’t manage the tires the way we should have, I think, for the Firestone Fast Six, but overall we had a good pace. Scott (Dixon) seems to be very strong this weekend, but overall pretty happy.
Castroneves commented following his run by saying:
We really did a lot of science projects out there with our setups to be honest, but in the end I was able to follow a little bit from my teammates and ended up working pretty well. The Hitachi car was good. We had a good pace, and we made some adjustments on the last qualifying run, and I’m not sure if it was the right direction or not. I just think the fans here are awesome. The race, to be honest, whatever happens happens, but just to have so many people here, I’m just excited. Obviously it’s a high-speed track, you know, but anything can happen. But at this point I’m just glad we’re back in this beautiful place.
Graham Rahal in the No.15 Gehl / D-A Lubricant Honda will start the race from sixth place after setting a fastest time of 01:43.7782s and speaking following the session he commented by saying:
We’re surrounded by our championship competitors and the top Honda so it feels good to be in that position. I feel like the Gehl / D-A Lubricant Honda is pretty good going into the race. We’ve got to improve it a little bit but these guys have worked extremely hard to get us in this position. Yeah it would be nice to be on pole but I didn’t think that we had enough to get that once I saw the times those guys did. The 2.5 (1:42.55) I did in Round 2 was just about as good of a lap that I thought I could do. On the last round, we decided to go with new blacks (tires) instead of used reds because maybe used reds will be better tomorrow so I didn’t want to put a second run on them. I thought we could still do a high two on blacks, and we probably could have but I chased throttle extremely hard coming out of Turn 5 and almost looped it so we lost that lap. I haven’t raced on a track this difficult in a long time. It seems like every lap you do, the track gives you a little something different each lap. It’s always a challenge. We need a good win this year and want to get a win for Honda and be the team to get them back in Victory Lane at Road America. It’s a big race for our championship this year. If we can have a good day tomorrow, it could really catapult us up. It’s pretty clear that in this part of the world there is a great amount of support for Indy car racing and it’s awesome to be here.
Max Chilton in the No.8 Gallagher Chevrolet did a great job in qualifying and was unfortunate to miss out on a place in the Firestone Fast 6 competition and will start the race from seventh place after setting a fastest time of 01:42.7519s and speaking following the session he commented by saying:
Gallagher and the Ganassi team gave me a great car for this weekend here at Road America. I was on my hot lap in the second segment of qualifying and Power came out in the pits in front of me. I followed him out through Turns 5-6-7 and then into the Carousel turn. I was four car lengths back and just had to keep lifting and lifting. The stewards reviewed it and didn’t take any action which I just find maddening.
Ryan Hunter Reay in the No.28 DHL Honda was the leading Andretti Autosport car and will start the race from eighth place and speaking following the session he commented saying:
I have a fever and all that stuff today – the shakes, the sweats, the whole thing – not feeling so great, but anytime you’re in the race car the adrenaline just pulls all that out of you. I feel like junk, but (Josef) Newgarden has plates in his shoulder and is out there, so I can manage. The No. 28 DHL car was really good, we just had some issues under braking that ended up sealing our fate today. But P8, we can definitely work from there at Road America. Especially around a track like this with such long straights. It’s phenomenal to be back at Road America. It feels like it’s been way too long. Every driver up and down pit lane loves this place, and the fans make it special as well.
It was a great session for Dale Coyne Racing’s Conor Daly who set the ninth fastest time which was the best qualifying result for the American in IndyCar to date and speaking following the session he stated:
We have a goal every weekend to try and improve on our last road race result. We got our fifth place qualifying taken from us in Detroit which is a shame but this was more of a legit qualifying session. The car felt good. We weren’t at the tail end of that second group either and that means a lot for us and we got held back on our fastest lap as well which is a shame because of an overboost penalty, but it’s part of the game. To be qualifying in the top 10 that’s what you need to take advantage of things in the race, this gives us better options on strategy and it makes it a little easier on the brains up in the stand to make the calls.
Following an engine issue in the final practice session on Saturday morning Andretti Autosport got Carlos Munoz back out on track for qualifying having learnt a thing or two from Chip Ganassi Racing when it comes to changing an engine as it was all hands on deck with all the engineers from Andretti’s four cars pulling together to get the job done resulting in Munoz posting the tenth fastest qualifying time a 01:43.2001s and speaking afterwards the Colombian stated:
First I have to say I have an unbelievable crew. That was a team effort to put the car back together after some technical issues we had in the practice this morning. It’s a shame we didn’t get to practice this morning before we qualified. But, we are going to start 10th and we’ll see how the race goes. I thought we had a little bit more in the car than that, if I’m honest, but it’s a long race and anything can happen.
Charlie Kimball in the No.83 Tresiba® Chevrolet will start the race from 11th place on the grid having set a fastest time of 01:43.2649s and speaking following the session he commented by saying:
I can’t say that I’m happy with 11th, but I’m pleased with the improvement. I think it shows how much we improved with the simple fact that we’re eight spots better than we’ve been all weekend in any session and just finishing up qualifying when it counts. The Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing guys stayed with me and kept working on the car and working on me. We got lucky with the yellow in the first session, but we’d done the lap time when we needed to and that really played well for making it into the next segment. We’ll keep an eye on the weather and see if it’s going to be wet in the warmup tomorrow, but we’ll go from there and see what we want to do in the race as far as the alternate and primary Firestones. We really need to decide which one is going to last. I know 50 laps doesn’t sound like much, but around here that’s still 200 miles.
KVSH Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais in the No.11 Team Hydroxycut Chevrolet will start the race from 12th place having set a fastest time of 01:43.3291s and speaking following the session the Frenchman commented by saying:
The car is really good. The Hydroxycut machine was on it. Unfortunately, we have been dealing with some brake issues. We were four tenths up on our fastest lap this morning, but the car is pulling right and it is locking the left front. That is an interesting combination. We had a different problem this morning, but it was along the same lines. We keep throwing new stuff on it, but it just won’t fix it. It’s really frustrating. The Hydroxycut – KVSH Racing guys have done a great job. The car was really strong. It is just tough to turn left when the car pulls right. We’ll work on it tonight and in the warm up tomorrow and see what we can come up with for the race.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Mikhail Aleshin will start the race from 13th place on the grid with a fastest time of 01:43.4024s and speaking following the session the Russian commented by saying:
I think we had some good progress here from where we started, It’s my first time at the track and I haven’t tested here like everyone else in the championship running. It’s a shame that we couldn’t get into the top six in this qualifying but we were pretty close. It’s not the best position to start with, but it’s okay. The race is long so anything can happen. We’re going to move forward, that’s for sure.
Juan Pablo Montoya in the No.2 Devbiliss Chevrolet will start the race from 14th place following engine issues in qualifying and speaking following the session he commented by saying:
The DeVilbiss Chevy ran well in qualifying. We’re happy with it and as far as tomorrow’s race, we don’t feel like we need to make any changes. In practice earlier this morning, we had an issue with the engine, but we felt good about the car yesterday and we still feel good about it today.
Takuma Sato in the No.14 ABC Supply Co AJ Foyt Racing Honda set the 15th fastest time a 01:43.5357s and speaking following the session the Japanese driver commented by saying:
After the practice session we were looking positive for qualifying but we didn’t have enough speed to go through it. Looks like we had the heavier side of downforce which was good for the cornering and braking but it was too draggy down the straight and we were losing time down the straight.
Alexander Rossi in the No.98 Castrol Edge/Curb Honda will start the race from 16th place after setting a time of 01:45.0840s and speaking following the day of action he commented by saying:
I’m very upset to have our qualifying session go that way. We had a car that was good enough to be in the top six and to have our laps aborted because of traffic and red flags is more than disappointing. We have a lot of work to do tomorrow.
Spencer Pigot in the No.20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet starts the race from 17th place after setting a time of 01:43.6432s and speaking following the session he commented by saying:
Qualifying was tough. I’m still trying to get used to the red tires, there’s so much more grip available and I need to learn how best to maximize a lap. We had two runs on red and made some changes after the first one. We may hay have went too far the other way, but overall it was okay. I think we have some good data to look over from Josef and we can see where we can get better tomorrow.
AJ Foyt Racing’s Jack Hawksworth starts the race from 18th place and speaking following the session he commented by saying:
The car felt OK but I got blocked by Charlie Kimball when I was on my black tires and so we came in for the reds. I made a mistake on my first lap on the reds so I just chose to save my tires and push on the second lap. The car felt pretty good but that’s when the red flag came out [for Newgarden] and I never got to put a lap in so feeling pretty gutted. That’s the way it goes I guess.
Dale Coyne Racing’s Gabby Chaves will start the race from 19th place having set a fastest time of 01:43.6672s and speaking following qualifying he stated:
I think we expected different conditions, the car wasn’t exactly how I’d want it but this is how these things go, sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn’t. Maybe we’ll take the lead on what our teammate is doing, they seem to be finding a way to progress a little bit better than we are.”
Josef Newgarden in the No.21 Direct Supply Chevrolet will start the race from 20th following an accident during the session which brought out the red flag. Speaking following the session he commented by saying:
I made a mistake. I feel pretty silly for doing it, but that happens sometimes. You’re pushing pretty hard in these racecars, you’re going to overstep sometimes and that’s what I did right there. I got a little bit wide and got too greedy. I had a really good lap going, the car was fast and I wanted to go for it. I probably should have thought a little better about it being Round 1, you don’t really have to push that hard until the Fast 6. I was just ready to be on it and try and make something happen. The Direct Supply car should be fast tomorrow, we’ll come back, regroup and try to put the car up as high as we can.
Marco Andretti in the No.27 United Fiber & Data/Snapple Honda had an extremely tough session as he will start the race from 21st place after setting a time of 01:43.7289s and speaking following the session he commented by saying:
I think we would have been pretty close to (advancing), we just went to the brakes and the car locked the left front and pulled to the right over the curb. We had to abort the lap – unfortunately that was the important lap too. We just got caught out.
James Hinchcliffe in the No.5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda had an unfortunate day at the office as he put it. The Canadian suffered a problem with the dashboard in his car and had his two fastest times in the session deleted as IndyCar officials deemed that he had impeded Alexander Rossi and speaking following the session the Mayor of HinchTown commented by saying:
It was an unfortunate day at the office, We had a small problem on blacks with the dash so I wasn’t able to shift properly. We were hoping to fix it for our run on red tires and we were only halfway through our first red lap when the session was called off for Josef [Newgarden]. It’s really too bad because the Arrow Electronics car was fast. I’m glad Josef is ok and now we have lots of new tires for the race tomorrow.
Hinchcliffe rounded out the order and will start the race from 22nd place on the grid.